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Education financing not for govt alone, philanthropists can assist – Minister

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Education financing not for govt alone, philanthropists can assist – Minister

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, has called on private individuals and philanthropists to assist the government in funding education in the country.

Mamman made the plea in Abuja at an event organised in honour of Dr Emeka Offor and wife, Dr Adaora Offor, who were honoured with doctorate degrees.

Education financing not for govt alone, philanthropists can assist – Minister

Dr Emeka Offor (3rd from left); Dr Adaora Offor (4th from left) with friends at the reception held in Abuja in honour of the doctorate degree awards (honours) by the University of Nigeria Nsukka and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

They were awarded the degrees in Business Administration and Social Advocacy (Honours) respectively by the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) and Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka, Anambra.

The minister said, though the government had spent so much in funding education, private individuals and philanthropists needed to emulate what Emeka Offor and wife had done through their Foundation, to support education.

“The ministry is encouraged with this kind of recognition because the government cannot finance education alone, just as it has contributed a lot.

“That is why people like Emeka Offor and wife have stepped in, and what they are doing should be encouraged by others. I believe this is an excellent example of resources well used and I urged others to take a cue from what they have done,” Mamman said.

The Voice Media Trust (VMT NEWS) reports that the couple through Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF) created an endowment fund of N150 million for research and scholarly enterprise, in the faculties of Business Administration and Social Science of UNN and NAU respectively.

While UNN received N100 million for research activities and scholarly enterprise that will impact the Faculty of Business Administration, NAU received N50 million for welfare of widows, children with special needs and other vulnerable members of the society.

The Minister commended the donors for their kind gesture, expressing the hope that the endowment funds would be judiciously used for what they were meant for.

“The good thing is that the endowment is tied to particular activities in the universities and there are clear terms for usage and I believe that the institutions will utilise the money,” he added.

Mamman urged philanthropists and kind hearted individuals to also invest in the Federal Government safe school initiative to protect school children from attacks and other forms of violence.

The celebrant and donor, Chief Emeka Offor, said the endowment funds would be a restricted one where the principal sum would be held in perpetuity except otherwise decided by SEOF and the Universities.

Offor said the earnings from the invested assets would be expended according to the donor’s specifications, i.e. funding of research and
scholarly enterprise in the Faculty of Business Administration and Social Science of both universities.

“This gesture is our desire towards supporting higher education in Nigeria and strengthening the bond of friendship between the SEOF and the UNN/NAU.

“By the time you create opportunities just like we have done to these universities, you are reducing the suffering of the masses by creating opportunities for the youths to get the right job.

“We gave those monies as endowment funds and there are conditions attached for the usage; what that means is that the funds will be invested in high-yielding portfolios, not a risky one.

“We don’t want to hear that the money was lost in a bank because they were looking for higher yields; what we want from this N150 million is to remain in the university system to support research, encourage professional exchanges with other countries to acquire knowledge.

“The principal sum shall be maintained in a high-yielding but legitimate investment platform wherein SEOF and UNN/NAU shall nominate the signatories.

“There shall be a committee to be set up between SEOF and UNN/NAU to manage the funds and take decisions as appropriate,” he said.

Offor added that there must be a status report to be made available by the committee to both parties every 12 calendar months.

Prof. Romanus Ezeokonkwo, the acting Vice Chancellor of UNN, assured that the fund would be judiciously used.

He said; the donors mentioned what they want to do with the money and we will follow it judiciously and there will be no diversion.

“It will be used to do what it was meant for, I assure you that.”

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